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Roger, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 31737
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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My neighbor took down old stair case that exits s 2nd floor,

Customer Question

My neighbor took down old stair case that exits his 2nd floor, and rebuild a new one. The stair case ended 3 feet from my property line, this is way over the 20 feet set back limit by city building code. We filed complaints 3 times. The city inspector ignores us. According to sources, my neighbor has all the connections in the city since they have been living there for generations. We continued to file complaint and went to the city to find the inspector. Finally the inspector said he will approve a building permit for my neighbor to continue building the stair on the ground that it will be a fire escape. My question, is this legal to approve the building permit violating my property right? The stair case face my front door, and just 3 feet from my drive where we enters our backyard. What can I do if the permit is approved? Doesn't this kind of approval require special permit hearing?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Roger replied 1 year ago.

Hi - my name is ***** ***** I'll be glad to assist.

My best guess is that the city is attempting to "grandfather" in the new staircase since it is replacing the old one. Whether or not that is proper would depend on the city code and what it says about replacing old structures, etc. But, the bot***** *****ne here is that you're going to have to file a request to appear before the city board that oversees this (whether it is the city council or if the building code division has its own board) and have them explain to you its decision and also provide documentation to prove that it has the authority to allow this to be done given that doing so will infringe on your rights and the 20' set back provision.

Expert:  Roger replied 1 year ago.

If the city has the authority to approve this, then it is what it is. However, you certainly should consider demanding that the authority provide you with proof that it can take this action.

If you're not satisfied with the response you get from the board, you can always file a lawsuit against the city for a "writ of mandamus" that requests that the court FORCE the authority to follow its rules and enforce them as written.